Violeta Parra

Image in Public Domain

Chilean composer, singer-songwriter, folklorist, ethnomusicologist and visual artist • 1917-1967 • Chilean Folk Music

Fast Facts

  • Violeta Parra was one of nine children born in 1917 in San Carlos (Santiago), Chile
  • Parra’s father was a music teacher who taught all of his children to sing and play guitar and her mother was a seamstress.
  • She spent much of her childhood in the countryside where she learned boleros, corridos, cuecas, rancheras, and tonadas; all of which influenced her musical voice.
  • Parra joined the Communist Party in 1948
  • She is widely known as the mother of Chilean Folk Music known as Nueva Canción (new song)
  • In addition to being a folk singer, Parra was also a composer, folklorist, painter, poet, sculpture, fiber artist weaving arpilleras or folk tapestries, and political activist.
  • She was the first Latin American Artist to have their work featured in the Louvre in France in 1964. 
  • Parra’s Nueva Canción was a statement advocating for the socially, economically and politically marginalized peoples of Latin America.
  • She compiled over 3,000 songs and recorded 11 albums while living with 16 albums released posthumously.
  • She suffered from depression and sadly committed suicide at the age of 49 in Santiago, Chile.